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IoD response to the Women and Equalities select committee's inquiry into the 'gender pay gap'

21 Nov 2015
Businesswoman presenting to her team

The IoD welcomes the opportunity to contribute to the Women and Equalities Select Committee’s inquiry into the gender pay gap, with particular reference to women over the age of 40.

The gender pay gap is at its lowest level since records began but there remains some work to do to achieve total gender pay parity. However, merely monitoring gender pay levels will not solve the gender pay gap. Measuring pay gaps is very complex, and averages can be misleading as peculiarities of industry, companies, or circumstances make such comparisons unfair.

The government should focus on affordable and accessible childcare, encouraging more girls to study STEM subjects such as maths and science, and providing better careers advice in schools. Policymakers should also focus on providing shared parental leave and other measures which could help spread the strain of caring for children or the elderly.

Ultimately, a concerted effort must be made to challenge cultural norms and encourage more men and women to enter jobs which are outside conventional gender roles. Publishing crude averages alone will not tackle the root causes of the gender pay gap. There are numerous ways to improve the prospects of women in business but these must be done as part of a package of complimentary measures designed to aid real change and advance the cause of women in the workplace.

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